The Skill Matching Concept is the whole project’s lynchpin. The aim of this Intellectual Output is not only to create a scientific sound model of generic job skills which is a step beyond the recently available and cited models, but also to develop a skill matching concept which will be made available in English, German, Romanian and Greek. This concept will show how the young people´s profiles can be matched with job descriptions not only to emphasize on their self-discovery processes but also to successfully match young people and employers, and thus, to tackle unemployment.
Activity 1: Researching skills in jobs for low qualified workers:
The University of Paderborn and the University of Dundee will conduct interviews with employers to create a catalogue of detailed described generic skills and competencies that are required to find employment. Thirty low-qualified jobs will be focused, based on the ISCO-08 Major groups 7 to 9. There, e.g., craftsmen, plant and machine operators, maintenance personnel, and construction and factory workers are mentioned. Two employers for each of the thirty jobs will be interviewed to explore the relevant data. To save costs, we will follow a very structured approach and might conduct telephone-interviews. The focus will be on generic skills and qualification and not on qualifications due to this might emphasize the individual strength of the people as a person more.
The foster the comparability of the interviews, these will be designed as guided-interviews which will then be analysed based on scientific methods. The generic skills and competencies relevant in the different jobs will be made available as a result of the activity.
Activity 2: Analysis of existing concepts:
Complementary to the research conducted in activity one, existing concepts on generic skills and qualifications will be compared. The findings of this activity will complement the findings of the aforementioned research activities and might help to: a) identify the exact need for improvement in the recent models, and b) deductively structure the basis for analyzing the interviews and transfering them into the generic job skill model.
Activity 3: Generic job skill model:
The idea behind this activity is to create a skill model that focuses not on qualifications but on generic skills and qualifications which are needed to find and remain in employment. By the term generic it is meant, that the skills are not focusing on a specific job or occupation but on the more general ones which are utilizable and valuable in nearly every job. This could encompass aspects of social adequate behavior, decision making, self-reflective skills, etc. Thus, the focus lays on generic skills and those gained through informal learning processes. Here, the youths and the employers perspective have to be brought together to have a basis for activity 4.
Activity 4: Skill matching concept development:
The Skill Matching Concept will be developed based on the findings of the research activities with the Generic job skill as its core. The aim of this activity is not only to develop the Skill Matching Concept, but also to make the matching-process of the young people’s profiles and the job profiles more transparent. The Skill Matching Concept will be the basis for the Matching tool itself and thus the most important criterion for the projects’ success and the tools sustainability.
The skill matching concept is not to understand as a rigid structure. Its idea is to describe which aspects of the users- and the job-profiles will be matched, and which additional criterions might have influence on a successful matching process like, e.g., weighing the importance of a specific competency-domain for a specific job. But it will not prescribe this weight. The youth organisation will monitor the development by bringing in their expertise and Ingenious Knowledge will have a look on the practical feasability.
Activity 5: Translation of concept:
The Skill Matching Concept will be translated into German, Romanian and Greek. Here, the generic job skills model is included also. Due to the aspects, that the Skill Matching Concept is the projects lynchpin, it needs to be available in several language to promote dissemination and exploitation activities.
Activity 6: Publications:
The University of Paderborn and the University of Dundee prepare, write and publish articles about the central findings of the projects research activities, its outcomes and particularly about the Skill Matching Concept in topic-related journals. The articles will be published in English. The non-university partners will proof-read the articles. The publications shall support the dissemination and exploitation activities.
In general, the Skill Discovery Concept is concerned with a valid and reliable assessment of the young people´s skills and competencies. The focus is set on informal acquired, generic skills and competencies to emphasize the personal strength. Activity 1 and 2 will be the core of this Intellectual Output and, to ensure a successful and quality matching, one of the projects absolute lynchpins. The different activities can be described as follows:
Activity 1: Development of testing concept:
This activity is mainly based on the research findings and the generic job skill model carried out in Intellectual Output 1. The idea of this activity is to develop a didactical concept about how the skills and competencies of the young people using the system can be assessed. The testing concept will consider the target groups needs and capacities and it will focus primarily on informal acquired, generic skills and competencies which are required in various jobs. This bespoke concept will give information about the structure behind the tasks embedded in the skill tests and thus it can be understood as a blueprint for the development of the specific tasks. As the idea behind SMART is to develop a matching tool, the focus of the tasks will be the assessment of the skills and competencies. Therefore, the blueprint might state, that the tasks developed for the skill tests should be developed under consideration of
Every task embedded in the skill tests that will be developed by the consortium will be designed based on the structure/ blueprint developed in this activity. Due the scientific foundation of the testing concept, a high standard of quality and validity will be safeguarded.
This activity will primarily be carried out by the Universities of Paderborn and Dundee but in collaboration with Ingenious Knowledge to assure the technical feasibility of the concept. YEU Cyprus and Pro Educatione will review the concept and give recommendations.
Activity 2: Development of skill tests:
Based on the structure set out in the testing concept, the Universities of Paderborn and Dundee will develop the concrete tasks that will be used to assess the young people´s skills and competencies on different levels. It is planned, that the tasks will be designed to be motivating to work out. Therefore, the tasks will be based on authentic situations, real contexts, and their difficulty level will be appropriate to the learners. Per skill/ competency identified and described within the generic job skill model, three to five tasks will be developed to assess this skill or competency valid and reliable in its different facets and from different perspectives.
Activity 3: Translations:
The SMAR-Tool will be made available for use in German, English, Greek and Romanian speaking countries. Therefore, the skills tests respectively the different tasks need to be translated from English into the different foreign languages. This will not only help to foster the projects impact and sustainability but especially to help more young people getting a better understanding of themselves and maybe bringing them into employment. Furthermore, this will make the implementation phases in the different partner way easier, and data from different countries can then be gathered and evaluated which is a huge advantage when thinking about the projects scientific foundation. The University of Dundee will not be engaged in the translation work as the tasks will be developed in English. Ingenious Knowledge won’t have any need to translate the tasks, as the translations into German will be carried out by the University of Paderborn.
Activity 4: Revision:
The revision phase will be located after the different evaluations and test runs of the other Intellectual Outputs. Here, the aim is to adjust the tasks based on the feedback of the different stakeholders like, e.g., the young people, youth workers and counsellors.
This Intellectual Output focuses directly on the development of the Skill Matching Tool itself, which will be designed as a web-based application. Several different activities are necessary to create such complex tool. These activities can be structured and described as follows:
Activity 1: Graphic and UI design:
The graphic and user interface (UI) design is concerned with
The tools and its structure need to be easy to understand and use, which is why the usability of the tool will be one of the major concerns here. The design of the User Interface will be one of the keys to create a sustainable tool which is why there is a huge emphasis on this activity.
Activity 2: Programming:
This activity is concerned with the concrete programming of the tool and all its functions. Ingenious Knowledge will write the programming code and provide the infrastructure (e.g. databased) for the test runs and implementations. Furthermore, this activity is concerned with the embedment of the Skill Matching Concept and the Skill Discovery Concept into one tool which can then be used to run field and usability tests. The tool will be programmed as an online application, running in browsers based on PHP, HTML, and MySQL Databases. It was decided to create a web-based application because this will allow to use the tool on a larger scale, e.g. in information centers and it can also be run on mobile devices.
Activity 3: Prototyping:
A prototype of the tool will be quickly developed to showcase its main functions. The prototype will be demonstrated on workshops, meetings, and conferences so that the tools functionality and its look and feel can be discussed. The prototype, however, will also be used to showcase the SMAR-Tool to stakeholders.
Activity 4: Usability test:
The usability of the SMAR-Tool will be, besides the quality of the matching processes, the main indicator for the measurement of the tools quality. Therefore, there is the need to run test implementations where both young people and employers as well will test the tool. The usability will be measured via questionnaires based on well-founded models used in the IT sector. The responsibility to run the tests lays primarily at YEU Cyprus and Pro Educatione as they have access to the target groups. Ingenious Knowledge will support and guide the test-implementations and evaluate the questionnaires to derive the need for improvements.
Activity 5: Revision:
The revision will be based on the findings of the usability test and the test runs with young people. Thus, the revision will be concerned with the consideration of the user´s needs and therefore its importance cannot be stressed enough. The work of the revision phase includes the adjustments on the programming, graphics and UI design, and the guiding mechanism.
Activity 6: Translations:
It is planned, that the tool will be available in English, German, Greek, and Romanian. Therefore, there is the need to translate the User Interfaces into the different foreign languages. The translation will be carried out by YEU Cyprus, the University of Paderborn, and Pro Educatione.
Activity 7: Final development:
Both, the tests runs and the usability test will be run with a beta-version of the tool. This tool will nearly be finished and all planned function will work then. However, based on the evaluation of the test runs and the usability tests, the final development will take place. Here, the stakeholders concerns and interests will find consideration to improve the tools quality and sustainability. The final development will be carried out by Ingenious Knowledge which will bring the tool to a further stage.
Activity 8: Marketing:
To sustainably exploit the projects activities and particularly to disseminate the Skill Matching Tool, the partners from YEU Cyprus and Pro Educatione will concentrate on the marketing activities, supported by the other consortium partners. The consortium focuses particularly on the idea to seek personal contact to stakeholders, especially employers from different occupational areas, (career) counsellors, youth workers and decision makers. Our idea is to extent the amount of persons actually using SMART.
Activity 9: Guiding mechanism:
On the one hand, SMART consists of an interface for the young people where they can run tests and administrate their profile, one the other hand, there will be an interface for employers where they can create job profiles, report vacancies, or add data for existing job profiles. However, even if the consortiums focuses on a system that is intuitive and easy to use, the systems complexity is very high. Hence, there is the need for a mechanism that guides the users through the system and provides help if needed. The mechanism will safeguard a proper use as it will give hints and help to reduce failures and mistakes.